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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Premchand and his Fantastico Novel Godaan

Reading is one of the most fantastico activities and a great pastime. Story telling is an art and some writers are the true magicians with their par excellent writings. This article is about one of the most favourite Hindi Writers of all time: Munshi Premchand.

Munshi Premchand, as we know him, was born as Dhanpat Rai Srivastav. His earlier writings were penned under the name of ‘Nawab Rai’ and later he switched to ‘Prem Chand’ as his pen name. He is famously quoted as the ‘Emperor among Novelists’. He is Shakespeare of Hindi Literature. He has written many short stories and novels and enriched both Hindi and Urdu literature.

He was one of the first hindi writers who voiced the concerns of discriminated sections of society. His writings are a beautiful description of the social surroundings that existed during British Period. He wrote detailed narratives about gender discrimination, caste hierarchies, poverty and corruption. In this article, I will try to elaborate upon one of his most impactful writings which I personally admire for their literary excellence.


Godaan is one of the greatest novels of Modern Indian Literature. It eloquently describes the socio-economic conditions that existed during British days.  The story is set in the area around Lucknow in the pre-independence Uttar Pradesh. Main protagonist of the story, Hori Ram is a poor farmer who is a good man but heavily indebted. Such debts in those days were a vicious circle of indebtedness with no possibility of coming out of it. Hori had accepted the social order and hence always kept interests of the local Landowner Rai Sahib above that of his family.

His wife, Dhaniya, was more practical in approach and was a big support to him. The title ‘Godaan’ refers to gifting a cow to a Brahmin by a Hindu at the time of death. Hori always desired to have a cow like many other peasants. This desire gets fulfilled in the very beginning of the book but this lasted only for a short while.

Indebtedness was one of the central problems of the peasants living in the village. Precisely for that reason, ‘Godaan’ focuses considerably on the money-lending practice. The novel presents the unavailability of small loans at proper conditions as one of the biggest social problems which results in the widespread poverty and miserable lives of the peasants.

It is fundamentally a political novel though it has no British colonial presence despite its adherence to the same timeline. Premchand’s depiction of individuals, their problems and consequential events is truly phenomenal. To sum it up, it is a very engaging read and I strongly suggest it to anyone who wishes to read about social surroundings of pre-independence India.

Notably, this landmark novel has also been adapted into a motion picture by the same name starring Raj Kumar and Kamini Kaushal. It is also highly recommended, though reading a book is an entirely different and enriching experience which cannot be expressed in words.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Beloved City of Delhi

Delhi is the city which mesmerizes each time one dwells upon its history. Its coexistence of historicity with modernity is what makes it unique. It has an incredible, splendid and composite heritage. Historically speaking, Delhi is an amalgamation of 8 cities including the modern city of New Delhi. 

Apart from the city of New Delhi, the other 7 historical cities of Delhi are:

  • Qila Rai Pithora – First city of Delhi dating to 10th Century AD. Anangpal, a Tomar Ruler is credited to have founded Delhi with its first city designed around Lal Kot.
  • Mehrauli
  • Siri
  • Tughlaqabad
  • Firozabad
  • Shergarh (City around Purana Qila)
  • Shahjehanabad

India Gate: The Memorial for Indian Soldiers

The historical city of Delhi was devastated a few centuries ago due to excesses of its rulers. Urdu poet Mir Taqi Mir penned for his beloved city of Delhi while yearning for it-

"दिल्ली जो इक शहर था आलम में इन्तख़ाब,
रहते थे मुंतखिब ही जहां रोज़गार के,
जिस को फ़लक ने लूट के वीरान कर दिया;
हम रहने वाले हैं उसी उजड़े दयार के।"


(Delhi was the best city in the universe, where once dwelled the most distinguished men.
I am a denizen of that ravaged realm, which was devastated by fate's excesses.)

With the modern infrastructural developments all around the city since the time of British and post-independence, city of Delhi has been significantly modernized. The imperial city of Delhi was designed by Edward Lutyens and Herbert Baker. The city of New Delhi is a blend of two dominant themes of the City Beautiful (vistas) and the Garden City (verdure).  A tour in and around Delhi gives a pride-infusing experience. As the capital of India, it is well connected with the rest of India through all the major modes of transport. 


It's age old architecture and its history encompassing more than a millennium are captivating. This has always attracted the attention of the great rulers of India towards making this as their capital. While some succeeded in their endeavors, some just fell in love and had to depart with a broken heart. But in either of the cases, they gave the future generations many more reasons to be truly amazed by its beautiful architecture. These events reinforced the correspondence between the history of Delhi and history of India. This is what drives people to come and experience the city of Delhi.

The city of Delhi is loved by one and all alike. It belongs to everyone. It's art & cultural heritage is a melting pot of cultural experience from all over the India. It's architectural beauty is splendid. It has many structures which exemplify Mughal and British architecture. Delhi is home to 3 of the 32 World Heritage Sites in India- Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort. 

Humayun's Tomb: A masterpiece of Mughal Architecture
Delhi has everything that a city can boast of. It is located strategically on an important ancient Silk trade route with river Yamuna and northern range of Aravalli Hills serving as its boundaries. Archaeologically, it is one of the richest city off India with vast surviving historical landscape. History of Delhi relates us and gives us a sense of connectivity while the overwhelming aesthetic of the city of New Delhi redefines the architecture and urbanism of Delhi. It is, without doubt, a city of international significance. It is a living city while it accommodates remains of its history in different states of preservation. City Planning and the urban fabric of Delhi has been influenced by Islamic, Persian and Hindu principles. All of this make the city outstanding and unique. 

As the capital of India, it is well connected with the rest of India through all the major modes of transport. It has an ever increasing demand of transportation and infrastructure which needs to be built and re-built to cater to its needs. Delhi Metro and eco-friendly CNG buses have responded well to the state of affairs. Delhi Metro has well connected different parts of Delhi. It has further added to the design quotient of Delhi and increased the mobility and drive of the city of Delhi. But there are still many concerns related to the city including the increasing environmental pollution. These concerns significantly affect the drive and connect of the city with its people. Hopefully Delhi will come up with the solutions well in time. 

To sum it all up, I would like to quote poet Mir once again-

"दिल्ली के न थे कूचे, औराक़-ए-मुसव्वर थे;
जो शकल नज़र आई, तस्वीर नज़र आई।"

(Charming were the streets of Delhi, like a work of art.
Every figure I met was a masterpiece. )

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This is an entry to the #madeofgreat Zonal War. 

Picture Credits: These beautiful pictures have been clicked by my dear friend Kanchan Dixit. She blogs at Kataaksh

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Eat less sugar, You are sweet enough already


Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream cheese icing
Eating is one of the most important passions in life. I am a great foodie. Some dead man once said, “You are what you eat.” I have complete faith on this statement. So I make sure that I keep adding sweetness in my meals. Desserts are what makes up for this. Dessert is the most important stage of the meal. From cookies to cakes, desserts end a meal on a high note.

Cupcakes are one of my favourite dessert items. So when I read about making a dessert item to accept the challenge. I chose to make Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream cheese icing. To be fair, I am a newbie in the world of food preparation. A Friend helped me in making the sweet awesomeness.

My friend knows about my eating habits and so she commented, “Eat less sugar, you are sweet enough already.”

I countered with a witty smile, “Ants always eat sweet food….but they never get diabetes. So there is nothing to worry. Mujhe kuch nahi hoga. (Nothing will happen to me)”

But deep inside I knew, she was definitely right. We must take our pleasures seriously. Eating sweets is fine. But we are not as lucky as ants in this regard. We have to face this truth in life sooner or later that eating too much sugar is harmful to health. It may cause diabetes. And once you are diagnosed with diabetes, life feels deserted. Without desserts, what else is it supposed to be? 

But every problem has a solution. This one needed a sweet one at that. Sugar Free Natura came to the rescue.This low calorie substitute contains sucralose, the latest international zero calorie sweetener. It’s a nutritious, safe and ideal sugar substitute. It gives the sweetness and taste of sugar but with negligible calories to worry about!

So we decided to make our dessert item substituting sugar with Sugar Free Natura. As it turned out, it was as fabulous as the one with sugar but definitely healthier. 


RED VELVET CUPCAKES

We did some homework and searched about the best methods to make cupcakes. There were a few suggestions regarding replacing baking soda with lemon juice to make cupcakes. So we followed that and it really brightened the redness of cupcakes.

Ingredients:

Whole wheat pastry flour 1 cup
Baking Powder 1 teaspoon
Cocoa Powder 2 Tablespoons
Pounded Beets 1 cup
Coconut Oil
Lemon Juice 2 tablespoons
Vanilla and Chocolate extract 1 tablespoon each
Sugar Free Natura
Salt to taste

Directions:

Whisk together the dry ingredients and set them aside. Now process the pounded beets, lemon juice, coconut oil and vanilla and chocolate extracts until the mix is completely smooth. Add both wet and dry mixtures and stir them well. Now pour this mix into cupcake pans equally. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line the cupcake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool before applying the cream cheese icing. 

CREAM CHEESE ICING

Ingredients:

Cream Cheese 2/3 cup
Sugar Free Natura
Lemon Juice 1 tablespoon
Vanilla Extract 1 tablespoon

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and mix them well. Pour it in a sealable plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator to chill. Once it is ready, use the bag to squeeze the icing out onto each of the cupcakes.

Voila! Your cupcakes are now ready to be served. Enjoy the cupcakes. You will definitely love it. Do Remember that Life can always be sweeter, even without sugar. Add taste to it, not calories. 

Do not forget to add comments if you have any suggestions. Thank You for Reading. :) 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bits of the Smart in your Phone



Read somewhere, ''Women are crazy, Men are stupid.'' 

Now that the phones are smart, we can be more stupid, crazy and fun with the smartphones. Today’s smartphones are literally magical machines. They can work as gaming consoles, business tools, and musical instruments; all at the same time. Doesn’t that little thing feel great in hand!

Do you know your smartphone as well as you think you do? Let’s take the smart ride and know some bits of technology just like #Technocrats.

ANDROID


We all have heard of it. It’s the most popular smartphone operating system. It has been developed by Google. Interestingly, this OS was initially planned for digital cameras. Its beauty lies in the fact that anyone can freely develop Android. It’s the most customizable OS with its open ecosystem. Even its logo is a free source, so you can use it the way you would like to.

4G


Well, the mention of the word ‘4G’ reminds me of that girl used in advertisements by a leading company. Let’s make it simple. ‘G’ stands for a generation of mobile technology like 1G (analog), 2G (digital), 3G and now 4G.

3G technology gives a speed upwards of 400 kbps to 7.2 Mbps or even faster. 4G is blazingly fast with even higher speeds. If you love watching video streams of high quality over the net, 4G will make a huge difference. Though keep a watch at your data usage. 4G will be blazingly fast in sucking up that as well. So be cautious, don’t get fooled!

If you are using a 3G phone and are irritated with the slow connectivity, go for 4G. 4G is the future and its coverage is going to get better in times ahead. If you already have a 4G LTE phone and you have no 4G coverage in your area, then disable the 4G LTE and it will save a lot of battery drain.

OCTACORE PROCESSORS


The Processor is 'heart' of a smartphone. This is where all the action is. Processors are marketed in terms of 2 factors – Clock Speed and number of cores. Clock speed of a processor tells us how fast a processor can execute tasks. The bigger, the better. Clock speed was used to judge the computer performance in 90s. Now core count is indicative of prowess of a smartphone.

Now everyone is moving to Octacore processors. Theoretically, an Octacore processor has double the number of cores as compared to quad-core. True. But there is a catch here. The phone will seem to be amazingly fast perhaps, but more cores do not necessarily mean a faster processor.

A smartphone should also have a robust GPU with a powerful processor.  Always remember, the best smartphones are the ones who have amazingly optimized and effective software code to assist the hardware.
  

SENSORS



Your mobile phone knows how you are holding it, what you are saying to it, where it exactly is and how fast you are moving. There are so many sensors inside your phone, some of which might not even make sense to you. 

These sensors are built-in to measure motion, orientation and environmental conditions. Sensors are precisely what makes your smartphone actually smart. Quite sensational. Isn’t it!

Get to know about the sensors your smartphone is having and you might end up finding some new fun ways to flaunt your ‘smart’ companion.


More on it some other time…

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Growing Intolerance

Intolerance is rising…Yes, you read it right. It’s the word that is all over the social media, news debates, and political circles. It is also a hot topic at Chai wala’s shop these days. Seriously most of us really have no idea about how intolerant or tolerant we are? We can’t even tolerate a debate on tolerance. And both the sides are intolerant in accepting the viewpoints of the other side.



We, the masses, are heavily influenced by one side or the other. And when we face the other side of the story, even if we know the truth, we tend to ignore and stand with what we have been consistently speaking about. We are not politicians. Our Twitter and Facebook accounts, Social Media, My blog, and our voices are not at the service of political interests of those others who are influencing us to side with them.

Don’t be a victim and a propagator of Hate Speech at the same time over any platform. Yes, the Choice is truly yours to exercise. You are entitled to freedom of speech & expression given by Constitution of India. But it’s high time to realize that freedom comes with a responsibility. Without responsibility, there is no freedom at all. It is easy to hurt someone for the alleged wrongdoings of others, but it is not easy to be a victim in such a case. Don’t do to others what you do not want to be done to you.

Most importantly, stop judging people by their political orientation. And most of us are not black and white with these subjective issues nor was it meant to be so. A good work by Modi, Gandhi (Rahul) or Kejriwal deserves mention and appreciation irrespective of our political affiliation. Equally important is the criticism when the need be. We All Most of us want a tolerant India with better opportunities for development and growth. Let’s work towards that goal.

Enough litter has been thrown, it’s time to Clean up. No need to tolerate my views either. Option to criticize is always open. But I am one among you, at least appreciate the goodness that we have in common and maybe someday, we will have much in common to stand up for each other and for the whole of India.

Thank You for tolerating me. Views are strictly personal, so is the toleration level. Please comment with your views to enrich the discussion. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Some are truly made of GREAT

Tata Motors #Madeofgreat Campaign

We meet so many individuals during the journey called life. Every one of us is unique. Our experiences with them constitute the learning that makes us into whatever we become over a period of time. The best people to be with are the ones who inspire us. These are the people who know how to live and love with an open heart. Their thoughts, ideas, feelings make us trust them and with time, they make us understand the meaning of greatness.

Greatness is not related to money or fame or heroism. It is a habit. It makes one face the troubling situations. Greatness is the test of substance of the character. Greatness is simplicity, love and true beauty of the inner self.




Greatness is a rarity. Many of us are good at something or the other. Some of us are better than many of us. But Only some are truly made of great. This post is a tribute to those great inspirational individuals.

I also encountered a few people who have truly been great and inspirational. These are the ones who are undeniably #madeofgreat. If I have to choose one person who has impacted my life the most by her greatness, It is my mother. She is not a women of academic or monetary excellence, but her value system and adherence to principles is what makes her my numero uno choice.

She has been consistent in her thoughts as well as in action. She has bonded our maternal and paternal families extremely well. She understands the difference between what lies right in front and what is right.

She is authentic, genuine, reliable and trustworthy. She is exactly the same person all the while, which is extremely rare. She connects with others with amazing enthusiasm which is difficult at times when a relationship is strained. She is humble and is always guided by truth and reason. She is a good listener and her optimism guides me at times when I face a failure or a failure seems most likely.

Being a mother, she is extremely caring and has always been so.  She is unbiased in her judgements. She has always guided me to follow what is right. I have my own short comings an limitations and there have been situations where an easy but wrong way had seemed to me a more lucrative choice, at those crucial junctures she has always held my hand and pushed me to go for the difficult but right path. 

But there is one quality which I admire the most in her. She is an epitome of forgiveness. She always tends to forgive. Over the time and with experiences in life, I have learnt that forgiveness is one of the most difficult habits to master. I hope that some day I will be that compassionate and I will be as forgiving. May be that day I will feel that I have achieved something on the path towards greatness.

I have scribbled my feelings about greatness. Now it's time for YOU to comment. Please let me know your thoughts about the topic. What do you think of Tata Motors' association with Lionel Messi? Tell me in comments below and if I like your answer, you will win an Amazon voucher worth Rs. 750. Hurry. Results will be announced on 26th November.




Made of Great is a brand association campaign of Tata Motors and Lionel Messi.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Asus Zen Festival - Splendid Fone Launch Event

I know it's called phone, not fone. But with Asus Zen series, Zenfone sounds more phonomenal indeed!






















ASUS India organized its past phone launch event in Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon which was a great fan fair. After success of that event, this time they planned something bigger. They tried to make it grand this time with organizing one of the biggest blogger meets in Delhi during a phone launch event. They also named the event Zen Festival suggesting that it will be a carnival of fun, food and technology. 

Venue of the event Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium was another reason to reserve a super pass. 6th August, 2015 was well awaited. As the day came, our twitter walls were filled up with tweets from bloggers all over India. It seemed as if every blogger was coming to attend #ZenFestival. The superpowers of Zenfone were well awaited and everyone was desperate to witness the launch event. 

Finally, I reached JLN stadium at 1 pm to witness the superpowers as per the schedule. But Superpowers seemed not in a hurry and we had to wait for the powers to unleash. Asus launched its 5 products. The launch event was kept in consonance with its global launch event.

5 Zen products which were launched:
  • Zenfone2 Deluxe featured a new polygonal design back panel with a 2.3 GHz 64 bit Intel Atom processor.
  • Zenfone2 Laser came with laser auto focus and dual LED flash among other specifications.
  • Zenfone Selfie is a phone for selfie lovers with dual LED flash for the front camera as well.
  • Zenfone Max is a battery saving gem with 5000 mAh Battery.
  • Zenpad is the first tablet to be launched with an interchangeable cover design.




Sonakshi Sinha was the guest of the event who launched all the phones and must have fallen in love with the selfie. The event was also made entertaining by unveiling the mascot Zenny. Zenny is a sweet mascot with a lightning bolt on his belly. Zenny stole the show then onwards with its awesomeness!

Overall, This event was great fun. Superpowers are finally in the open with a cute mascot Zenny representing them. How well the Fones are received in the Indian markets is yet to be seen. More power to Zen!